Want To Advance Your Career At Work? Here Are 5 Things You’re Doing That May Be Holding You Back


Do you feel held back at work?

It’s easy to blame competition or management when you hit a brick wall in your career. It can be awfully frustrating, especially when your day-to-day life seems to become more and more repetitious.

But it’s important to remember that there is always something you can be doing to change your situation – but the first step is recognizing what you might be doing (or not doing) that’s stopping your career advancement.

1. Not speaking up

One of the things that may be holding you back from moving up the ladder in your workplace is keeping quiet.

Speaking up when you have an idea or something to contribute shows your employer that you not only care about your job, but also the company you work for. Sharing your input is also a great opportunity to demonstrate to your employer that you are capable of much more than doing assigned tasks, which could lead to bigger and better opportunities within your workplace.

It is also important to make sure you’re asking questions. If you don’t understand something, need more clarification, or you just want to learn more, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask. People often fear that not understanding something may make them look bad – on the contrary, speaking up and asking the right questions will show your eagerness to learn.

2. Being overpowering

Often, leadership is confused with being the most “powerful” person in the room. This is not always the case – overpowering your teammates when working on a project not only gives off a bad impression to your colleagues, but also shows that you aren’t capable of working harmoniously with other people.

Nobody likes the bully in the workplace, and being too abrasive about your ideas and the projects you’re working on can create negativity and tension. The reality is, every workplace involves working with others, and everyone has a different work style.

Adjusting yourself to be able to work with any type of person is one of the best qualities you can bring into a workplace, and one that can only benefit you.

So how do you demonstrate leadership? Listen to everyone’s ideas, and act as a mediator. Yes, you can put your foot down when it’s absolutely necessary, but a true leader is able to come up with solutions with their team, and make everyone feel included while doing so. These qualities are sure to be noticed by management, and it will hopefully result in your career progression.

3. Not taking initiative

There is almost nothing more irritating to an employer than having to babysit one of their workers. They want to see what you are capable of – but if they’re constantly on your back about what you are working on, they are not likely going to give you additional responsibilities.

Taking initiative and getting stuff done before it is asked of you is a quality that employers look for in their employees. Every supervisor wants to know that even if he or she is busy, they don’t have to worry about delegating tasks to you. Be the type of employee that your boss doesn’t have to worry about because you are always one step ahead.

This means staying organized, and knowing what tasks you have for the day. Get your work done on time (or ahead of time, if possible). If you have questions, reach out to someone – don’t wait for someone to come up to you. And if you’re done your work, ask if there’s anything you can assist with. These qualities will show your employer that you’re, at the very least, a dependable employee.

4. Lacking positivity

Having a positive attitude is key in any workplace – after all, nobody likes a negative Nancy.

No matter how efficient you are at your work or how intelligent you are, you will have a difficult time advancing your career with a company if you don’t demonstrate that you enjoy the work. Employers will be hesitant to promote someone who doesn’t seem passionate about their role, especially since individuals in management positions are often expected to represent the company in a positive fashion to both their team, clients, and customers.

You might be exuding negativity at work, and not even know it. You might love your work, but forget to smile or show enthusiasm. It’s understandable that everyone displays their emotions differently, but be aware of the fact that management usually bases their judgements based on their observations. If they get the impression that you don’t enjoy your work (even if you do!), then the outcome will still be the same.

Luckily, this is fairly easy to remedy. Be sure to smile during the day, and try and greet your colleagues on a daily basis. These actions may feel forced at first, but you’ll find you’ll adopt to your new habits soon enough!

5. Not showing commitment

Not showing that you are committed to your job and workplace can be a huge reason that you aren’t advancing. Employers look for people that are willing to go above and beyond and that aren’t just there for a paycheck.

Ways to show commitment to your employer is being dedicated and hardworking, you may need to come in early or stay late to get a project done on time, or hook your email up to your cell phone to stay on top of everything. There are many big and small ways to show commitment, and commitment is going to ultimately be a factor in advancing within your workplace.

Perhaps you’re doing this already, and management simply hasn’t noticed. Consider sending your manager a small, casual update through email, letting them know what you’ve been working on and how it’s been going. Briefly mention the different processes you’ve implemented, or the different steps you’ve taken to make sure everything is taken care of. This is a subtle way of making sure you’re on their radar!

Have you advanced your career recently? What do you attribute your success to? Share your story below!